By David Morgan
A little Chinese New Year luck would not go amiss for Helene Paragon. Good fortune deserted the classy entire at a vital stage in last month’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and trainer John Moore is hoping for redress in Monday’s (30 January) G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m), the standout feature at Sha Tin’s Chinese New Year race day.
“I thought he was unlucky that he didn’t make his run at the same time as Beauty Only in the Hong Kong Mile. If he’d made the run at the same time, and not got interrupted and lost a length or so by having to divert inside Romantic Touch, he might have won,” Moore said.
Helene Paragon stormed down the final stretch to claim runner-up honours in a closing split of 22.82s. By the time the son of Polan had found clear running 300m out, the victor, Beauty Only, had already kicked the best part of a length ahead of the Moore runner. Beauty Only clocked 22.81s for the final 400m.
“He was only beaten half a length, so he was a little unlucky not win,” Moore added. “On closing times alone, he should have won, but that wasn’t to be. That’s racing.”
Helene Paragon won four from eight in his debut Hong Kong campaign last term, the highlight being an 1800m track record score at Sha Tin in the HKG3 Premier Plate Handicap. The horse that began his career at San Sebastian, Spain, is without a win in five outings this season but with world-class form in the book and a smart gallop under his belt on Tuesday (24 January), Moore is hopeful of a big run to kick off the Year of the Rooster.
“He galloped the place down with a horse that’s on the move up the ratings, Booming Delight,” Moore said. Booming Delight is among the stable’s BMW Hong Kong Derby candidates.
“They both pulled up really well. Booming Delight will run on Monday, too, we’re trying to get some more points on the board to get him into the Derby. They both impressed me in their work, so I’m delighted.”
Helene Paragon was timed at 1m 21.1s (29.1, 28.9, 23.1) for that 1200m turf gallop. If all goes well on Sunday, the bay could be jetting to Dubai at the end of March.
“I’ve engaged (Joao) Moreira to ride him in Dubai in the 1800m Group 1 race, the Dubai Turf,” Moore said. “I hope the horse is accepted for it, that’s the race I want there. The 1800m on turf will be right up his alley, so barring no setbacks, that’s where I want to take him.”
As for Monday’s Group 1 encounter, Moore added: “He’s really well and he goes in as one of Hong Kong’s best milers. But his work will be cut out against Able Friend!”
Not Listenin’tome in sprint feature
The 11-race card also features the G2 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) in which Moore will saddle Not Listenin’tome. Entries for that race also include Lucky Bubbles, Peniaphobia, Amazing Kids and Aerovelocity.
Not Listenin’tome won the G2 Jockey Club Sprint and was seventh behind the aforementioned, led by Aerovelocity, in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint, both at the course and distance. A sound second to Amazing Kids last time in the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m) showed the gelding to be in good heart.
The six-year-old galloped on Tuesday (24 January) in company with Monday’s Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (1400m) entrant Dashing Fellow, and clocked 1m 21.6s (28.8 29.1 23.7) for 1200m on turf. That work pleased his handler.
“He galloped very, very well on Tuesday. He’s as fit as hands can make him,” Moore said.
Helene Paragon scores a record-breaking win in the HKG3 Premier Plate last season.
Not Listenin��tome wins the G2 Jockey Club Sprint earlier this term.